Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238


The notion of implicature was first introduced by Grice (1967, 1989), who defined it essentially as what is communicated less what is said. This definition contributed in part to the proliferation of a large number of different species of implicature by neo-Griceans. Relevance theorists have responded to this by proposing a shift back to the distinction between and meaning (corresponding to explicature and implicature respectively). However, they appear to have pared down the concept of implicature too much, ignoring phenomena which may be better treated as implicatures in their over-generalisation of the concept of explicature. These problems have their roots in the fact that and meaning intuitively overlap, and thus do not provide a suitable basis for distinguishing implicature from other types of pragmatic phenomena. An alternative conceptualisation of implicature based on the concept of with which Grice originally associated his notion of implicature is thus proposed. From this definition it emerges that implicature constitutes something else inferred by the addressee that is not literally said by the speaker. Instead, it is meant in addition to what the literally speaker says, and consequently, it is defeasible like all other types of pragmatic phenomena.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Ariel, Mira
    (2002a) The demise of a unique concept of literal meaning. Journal of Pragmatics 34.4: 361-402. doi: 10.1016/S0378‑2166(01)00043‑1
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(01)00043-1 [Google Scholar]
  2. (2002b) Privileged interactional interpretations. Journal of Pragmatics 34.8: 1003-1044. doi: 10.1016/S0378‑2166(01)00061‑3
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(01)00061-3 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bach, Kent
    (1994) Conversational impliciture. Mind and Language 9.2: 124-162. doi: 10.1111/j.1468‑0017.1994.tb00220.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0017.1994.tb00220.x [Google Scholar]
  4. (2001a) You don't say?Synthese128.1/2: 15-44. doi: 10.1023/A:1010353722852
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1010353722852 [Google Scholar]
  5. (2001b) Seemingly semantic intuitions. In Joseph Campbell , Michael O'Rourke & David Shier (eds.), Meaning and Truth: Investigations in Philosophical Semantics. New York: Seven Bridges Press, pp. 21-33.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bezuidenhout, Anne , & J. Cooper Cutting
    (2002) Literal meaning, miminal propositions, and pragmatic processing. Journal of Pragmatics 34.4: 433-356. doi: 10.1016/S0378‑2166(01)00042‑X
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(01)00042-X [Google Scholar]
  7. Blakemore, Diane
    (1987) Semantic Constraints on Relevance. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. (2000) Indicators and procedures: Nevertheless and but . Journal of Linguistics36: 463-486. doi: 10.1017/S0022226700008355
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022226700008355 [Google Scholar]
  9. Breheny, Richard
    (2002) The current state of (radical) pragmatics in the cognitive sciences. Mind and Language17.1/2: 169-187. doi: 10.1111/1468‑0017.00194
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0017.00194 [Google Scholar]
  10. Carston, Robyn
    (1988) Implicature, explicature, and truth-theoretic semantics. In Ruth Kempson (ed.), Mental Representations: The Interface between Language and Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 155-181.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. (1995) Quantity maxims and generalised implicature. Lingua96: 213-244. doi: 10.1016/0024‑3841(95)00016‑S
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0024-3841(95)00016-S [Google Scholar]
  12. (1996) Enrichment and loosening: Complementary processes in deriving the proposition expressed. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics8: 61-88.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. (1998a) Postscript (1995). In Asa Kasher (ed.), Pragmatics. Critical Concepts. Volume IV. London: Routledge, pp. 464-479.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. (1998b) Informativeness, relevance and scalar implicature. In Robyn Carston , & Seiichi Uchida (eds.), Relevance Theory. Applications and Implications. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 179-236. doi: 10.1075/pbns.37
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/pbns.37 [Google Scholar]
  15. (2000) Explicature and Semantics. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics12: 1-44.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. (2001) Relevance theory and the saying/implicating distinction. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics13: 1-34.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. (2002) Linguistic meaning, communicated meaning and cognitive pragmatics. Mind and Language17.1/2: 127-148. doi: 10.1111/1468‑0017.00192
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0017.00192 [Google Scholar]
  18. (forthcoming) Thoughts and Utterances: The pragmatics of explicit communication. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Davis, Wayne
    (1998) Implicature. Intention, Convention, and Principle in the Failure of Gricean Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511663796
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511663796 [Google Scholar]
  20. Gauker, Christopher
    (2001) Situated inference versus conversational implicature. Nous 35.2: 163-189. doi: 10.1111/0029‑4624.00292
    https://doi.org/10.1111/0029-4624.00292 [Google Scholar]
  21. Gibbs, Raymond Jr
    (1999a) Interpreting what speakers say and implicate. Brain and Language68.3: 466-485. doi: 10.1006/brln.1999.2123
    https://doi.org/10.1006/brln.1999.2123 [Google Scholar]
  22. (1999b) Speakers' intuitions and pragmatic theory. Cognition 69.3: 355-359. doi: 10.1016/S0010‑0277(98)00071‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(98)00071-7 [Google Scholar]
  23. (2000) Inferring what speakers say and what they mean. Paper presented at the Seventh International Pragmatics Conference, Budapest, Hungary.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Gibbs, Raymond Jr. , & Jessica Moise
    (1997) Pragmatics in understanding what is said. Cognition 62.1: 51-74. doi: 10.1016/S0010‑0277(96)00724‑X
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(96)00724-X [Google Scholar]
  25. Grice, Paul
    (1967) Logic and Conversation, William James Lectures.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. (1989) Studies in the Way of Words. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Groefsema, M
    (1992) 'Can you pass the salt?': A short-circuited implicature. Lingua87: 103-135. doi: 10.1016/0024‑3841(92)90028‑H
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0024-3841(92)90028-H [Google Scholar]
  28. Hamblin, Jennifer
    (1999) Understanding what is said and what is implicated. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Santa Cruz.
  29. Hawley, Patrick
    (2002) What is said. Journal of Pragmatics 34.8: 969-991. doi: 10.1016/S0378‑2166(02)00043‑7
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(02)00043-7 [Google Scholar]
  30. Haugh, Michael
    (in progress)Politeness implicature in Japanese. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Queensland.
  31. Horn, Laurence , & Samuel Bayer
    (1984) Short-circuited implicature: A negative contribution. Linguistics and Philosophy7: 397-414. doi: 10.1007/BF00631074
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00631074 [Google Scholar]
  32. Iten, Corrine
    (2000a)  Conventional implicature, tone and procedural meaning . Paper presented at the 7th International Pragmatics Conference, Budapest, Hungary.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. (2000b) 'Non-Truth-Conditional' Meaning. Relevance and Concessives. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of London, London.
  34. Kandolf, Cindy
    (1993) On the difference between explicatures and implicatures in relevance theory. Nordic Journal of Linguistics16: 33-46. doi: 10.1017/S0332586500002651
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0332586500002651 [Google Scholar]
  35. Leech, Geoffrey
    (1983) Principles of Pragmatics. London: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Levinson, Stephen
    (1989) A review of Relevance. Journal of Linguistics25.2: 455-472. doi: 10.1017/S0022226700014183
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022226700014183 [Google Scholar]
  37. (2000) Presumptive Meanings. The Theory of Generalised Conversational Implicature. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Matthews, P.H
    (1997) Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Morgan, Jerry
    (1978) Two types of convention in indirect speech acts. In Peter Cole (ed.), Syntax and Semantics, Volume 9. Pragmatics. New York: Academic Press, pp. 261-280.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Nicolle, Steve , & Billy Clark
    (1999) Experimental pragmatics and what is said: A response to Gibbs and Moise. Cognition 69.3: 337-354. doi: 10.1016/S0010‑0277(98)00070‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(98)00070-5 [Google Scholar]
  41. Noro, Ken
    (1979) Generalized conversational implicature. Sophia Linguistica5: 75-83.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Noveck, Ira
    (2001) When children are more logical than adults: Experimental investigations of scalar implicature. Cognition 78.2: 165-188. doi: 10.1016/S0010‑0277(00)00114‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0010-0277(00)00114-1 [Google Scholar]
  43. Obana, Yasuko
    (2000) Understanding Japanese. A Handbook for Learners and Teachers. Tokyo: Kurosio.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Papafragou, Anna
    (2000) Early communication: Beyond speech act theory. In Catherine Howell , Sarah Fish , & Thea Keith-Lucas (eds.), Proceedings of the 24th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development, Volume 2. Sommerville, Mass: Cascadilla Press, pp. 571-582.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. (2002) Mindreading and verbal communication. Mind and Language 17.1/2: 55-67. doi: 10.1111/1468‑0017.00189_17_1‑2
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0017.00189_17_1-2 [Google Scholar]
  46. Recanati, François
    (1989) The pragmatics of what is said. Mind and Language4: 295-329. doi: 10.1111/j.1468‑0017.1989.tb00258.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0017.1989.tb00258.x [Google Scholar]
  47. (1993) Direct Reference. From Language to Thought. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. (2002) Does linguistic communication rest on inference?Mind and Language17.1/2: 105-126. doi: 10.1111/1468‑0017.00191
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0017.00191 [Google Scholar]
  49. Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, Francisco
    (1998) Implicatures, explicatures and conceptual mappings. In Jose Luis Cifuentes (ed.), Estudios de Linguistica Cognitiva I. Alicante, Spain: University de Alicante, pp. 419-431.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. (1999) The role of cognitive mechanisms in making inferences. Journal of English Studies (University of La Rioja)1: 237-255.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Ruiz de Mendoza Ibanez, Francisco , & Lorena Perez Hernandez
    (2001) Cognitive operations and pragmatic implication, Sincronia (E-Journal of Culture Studies) (Fall volume). sincronia.cusch.udg.mx/fall01.htm
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Sadock, Jerry
    (1978) On testing for conversational implicature. In Peter Cole (ed.), Syntax and Semantics Volume 9. Pragmatics. New York: Academic Press, pp. 281-297.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Saul, Jennifer
    (2002) Speaker meaning, what is said, and what is implicated. Nous 36.2: 228-248. doi: 10.1111/1468‑0068.00369
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0068.00369 [Google Scholar]
  54. Sperber, Dan , & Deirdre Wilson
    (1995) Relevance. Communication and Cognition. (2nd edition). Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. (2002) Pragmatics, modularity, and mind-reading. Mind and Language17. 1/2: 3-23. doi: 10.1111/1468‑0017.00186
    https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1468-0017.00186 [Google Scholar]
  56. Vicente, Begona
    (1998) Against blurring the explicit/implicit distinction. Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses11: 241-258.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Wilson, Deirdre , & Dan Sperber
    (1993) Linguistic form and relevance. Lingua90: 1-25. doi: 10.1016/0024‑3841(93)90058‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0024-3841(93)90058-5 [Google Scholar]
  58. (1998) Pragmatics and time. In Robyn Carston , & Seiichi Uchida (eds.), Relevance Theory. Applications and Implications. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 1-22. doi: 10.1075/pbns.37.03wil
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.37.03wil [Google Scholar]
  59. (2000) Truthfulness and relevance. UCL Working Papers in Linguistics12: 215-257.
    [Google Scholar]
  60. Yus, Francisco
    (1999) Misunderstandings and explicit/implicit communication. Pragmatics 9.4: 487-517.
    [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Grice; Implicature; Relevance theory
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error